Moses had a lot on his plate. The Lord required heavy assignments of him. He had to stand against the most powerful religious ruler of his time, Pharaoh. He returned to lead a people who barely knew him and probably resented him for being raised as a king while they were being treated as slaves. And he stepped up the plate to pastor a congregation of about 2 million, excluding women and children, with the overwhelming vast majority of them who were idol worshipers. Now who on earth would want a job like that? To add insult to injury, he had a brother and sister who doubted his leadership and at times couldn’t be trusted to protect the flock while took time off in prayer. To add more insult to injury, he had to abandon his beautiful wife and his two sons to pastor a stiff necked and rebellious people whom God had to let millions of them die because they got on his nerves. Anybody want that job? Probably not.
Before we criticize Moses for speaking harshly at the people and calling them insulting names, consider the amount of stress this man was under. Consider the losses he incurred just to fulfill his assignment. He had to deal with backbiters even though HE was the one who delivered THEM from evil even at the risking of his own life. He had to deal with a people who knew God in name only. They had no relationship with Him whatsoever, save a few. He had to teach them everything pertaining to the laws of God and them mediate and settle disputes by the multitudes on a daily basis.
Here enters Jethro. Jethro was a seasoned man of wisdom and counsel. He would come to visit Moses and bring Zipporah, Moses’ wife and Jethro’s daughter, and his sons to visit. He couldn’t help but to notice the tremendous amount of stress Moses endured. He pulled Moses to the side and said, If you don’t get some help, you won’t last long.
“Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.” Ex. 18:19-20
“Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you.” Ex. 18:21-22
Hearkening to the counsel of Jethro, Moses ordained the 70 elders and was able to relieve himself of some of his pastoral duties. But this goes to show you the need for wiser more mature seasoned leaders in your life. As leaders, we all need someone smarter than us in our ears. We don’t know it all. We haven’t seen it all and we haven’t been through it all. God will place key individuals in your life who will help you. They are not the members of your church. They are not your friends. And they are not your fans. They are your mentors and wise counselors and if you are called to heavy assignments, you had better start asking God where Jethro is because you will need him/her if you plan to stay around long enough to see your works finished.
Leaders are experiencing more burn out than ever before. Rebellious generations of people are sitting in your pews looking in your face each and every week. You are balancing the church budget while people wonder what you do with the money (and it’s usually those who don’t have any), and you have pressure to ensure every soul under the sound of your voice ‘gets it’ when you preach. There is pressure. Moses’ congregation kept looking back and so will some of yours. They will compare you to their former pastor, their former church, and even suggest ways for you to behave or fit in another man’s shell. Pressure. You have your family who is under intense demonic attack. Your spouse has mind battles, your children act crazy, your family comes against you, and you wonder what in the name of a baloney sandwich did you agree to and how did you get here?
Ask the Lord who your Jethro is and don’t expect to see them or hear from them all the time. They are not buddies. They are men and women of God seasoned to perfection to help you in times of ministry crises. Statistics don’t lie. There are too many leaders walking away, not from God but from the church, because they can probably ‘do bad all by themselves’. Save your life, save your ministry, get Jethro.